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Four Parties to Field One Presidential candidate in the 2011 Uganda General Elections.

Published on Thursday 17th December 2009

FOUR opposition parties in the inter-party cooperation have agreed to front one presidential candidate in the 2011 general elections. They also agreed to field joint candidates in the parliamentary, district and local government elections.

Furthermore, they committed themselves to form a coalition government if they win the forthcoming 2011 polls and share the top positions in government.

The four parties are Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC), Justice Forum (JEEMA), Conservative Party (CP) and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).

The Democratic Party is not part of the alliance due to disagreements among its leaders.

In a protocol they signed at the end of a two-day retreat at Pope Paul Memorial Centre in Ndeeba yesterday, the parties undertook not to field other candidates besides those agreed upon by the alliance.

Presidents Miria Obote (UPC), Kibirige Mayanja (JEEMA), Ken Lukyamuzi (CP) and Kizza Besigye (FDC) signed the protocol, together with their secretary generals.

Present was Social Democrats Party (SDP) leader Michael Mabikke, who has already applied to join the group.

"Each party wishing to present a presidential candidate shall conduct primaries in accordance with its constitution or party regulations and submit the name of a single candidate to a national electoral affairs committee, which shall by consensus select one candidate and recommend him or her to the national conference," reads the protocol.

The national conference comprising of 50 members nominated by each party and party district chairpersons shall be the supreme organ of the alliance.

"In the event that no consensus is achieved, the matter shall be put to vote in the inter-party cooperation national conference where each delegate has a vote," it further states.

A candidate, it adds, shall win by more than 50%, and in the event that no candidate attains the mark, voting will proceed to a second round on the two candidates who got the highest votes.

The same procedure will apply to the district, parliamentary and local government elections and where no consensus is reached, the joint candidates will be selected by the district, constituency or sub-county electoral conferences in joint primaries.

The national electoral affairs committee will issue certificates of eligibility to be presented by each chosen candidate to their parties for processing of their nomination with the Uganda Electoral Commission. The protocol also provides how to solve disputes by leaders and how a party can leave the alliance.

On winning the elections, the cooperation will form a coalition government and each party whose candidate is not elected the president shall be eligible to the offices of vice-president, prime minister, speaker, minister of defence, finance, internal affairs or foreign affairs.

Other posts will be shared equitably, provided 40% of the positions are for women. The cooperation, that takes effect in March 2011, will last five years.

The leader of the cooperation, Miria Obote, said the alliance is meant to provide new political leadership and oust the NRM regime. She condemned the training of NRM cadres like those recently passed out by President Yoweri Museveni at Kololo, saying they were being trained to serve the interests of Museveni in rigging elections.

"This is day-dreaming by the regime. Change must come. Ugandans want their country back. No amount of intimidation will deter us.

"Dictatorships never last forever. No amount of money or guns can save them. Injustice can never defeat a just cause. It is a matter of time. We must work together to create a new Uganda where power shall belong to the people."

Besigye said there has been an overwhelming demand by the people for the parties to work together to establish a new order.

"Failure might cause costly problems. Our country needs a new order to provide rule of law and best practices. This has been our historic failure," he said.

He castigated the current Government as a military camouflaged as an elected government, saying it depends on terror, domination of democratic institutions like the Electoral Commission and the media.

Kibirige Mayanja said for a long time the opposition has been making demands which have been ignored by the NRM.

Ken Lukyamuzi said they should advocate for a federal system of government which would stop Museveni from suppressing the rights of traditional leaders.

The deputy leader of the Christian Democratic International Centre in Sweden, Rasmus Rasmussen, urged the parties to elect a strong candidate in the primaries and look for resources from Ugandans in the diaspora.

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